Chicagoland Open: Catching Analysis



By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

The Chicagoland Open took place on Sunday August 17th on the campus of Saint Xavier University and included prospects from the 2015-2018 classes.  Several impressed, and over the next few days we will roll out a position-by-position analysis and finally the top overall prospects from the event.  Leading us off will be the catchers, who were led by two-way prospect Michael Schalasky (Brother Rice), who recorded the top pop time of the event at 1.98 seconds.

Let’s take a look at the top catching prospects from this year’s Chicagoland Open.

Top Catching Prospects

1. Michael Schalasky, RHP/C, Brother Rice, 2015
6-foot, 180-pound right-handed hitting RHP/C currently ranked No. 57 in Illinois’ 2015 class impressed as the top overall two-way prospect in attendance at the Chicagoland Open.  Schalasky is receiving Division-1 interest on the mound, but he also can swing it as evidenced by his 93 mph exit velocity.  Hits from an open setup, hands start high, load back smoothly, short stride, good feel for finding barrel, natural lift to short swing with some power projection, especially to his pull side.  Defensively behind the plate, rattled off the top pop time at the event at 1.98 seconds and threw 78 mph from the crouch.  On the mound, shows a feel for three pitches highlighted by an 86-88 mph fastball that has reportedly touched 90 mph on occasion.  Works from a long, loose, high ¾ arm slot; easy effort from a tall-and-fall delivery, toe down at balance point, level shoulders throughout, stride direction stays in line with home plate, athletic finish.  12/6 curveball had occasional sharp, late action thrown for strikes at 71-73 mph.  Also threw 77-79 mph changeup with arm side run for strikes.  Ran a 7.66 60 and 5.18 from home to first.

2. Justin Blasinksi, C/MIF, Lakes, 2015
5-foot-11, 185-pound muscular left-handed hitting C/MIF hits from an open setup, hands start lower around letters, producing slightly uphill bat path, with power to his pull side and good rhythm throughout.  Posted 92 mph exit velocity, the second highest recorded at the Chicagoland Open.  Defensively, threw 79 mph across the diamond from short, high ¾ arm slot; showcased average hands, and fluid, clean actions playing through the baseball.  Behind the plate, rattled off pop times between 2.12-2.25 seconds at 72 mph from the crouch.  Ran a 7.32 60 and 4.83 seconds from home to first.

3. Alex Peters, C, Richwoods, 2016
5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher, shows present strength, solid build. Right handed hitter, open stance, short stride. Made hard contact, aggressive swing, pull side approach, level path, line drive hitter. 85 mph exit velocity from the tee, bat speed present. Defensively showed quickness behind the plate, gets out of the crouch early and quickly, posted 2.01-2.10 pop times. Short arm action, high ¾ slot, 75 mph out of the crouch.

4. Justin Jackson, C, De La Salle, 2016
5-foot-7, 170-pound solidly built, right-handed hitting catcher hits from an open crouch setup, hands load smoothly, short stride, producing short, level bat path, barrel whips through the zone with some natural lift to swing and 80 mph exit velocity from the tee.  Defensively, threw 73 mph from the crouch with pop times ranging between 2.19-2.26 seconds.  Feet don’t square up towards second base when throwing, left foot stays open towards third base, which could add more power to throws and keep him from opening up early/using all arm.  Ran a 7.58 60 and 4.69 seconds from home to first.

5. Anthony Rios, C, St. Laurence, 2016
5-foot-9, 193-pound right-handed hitting catcher hits from a balanced setup, short stride, short bat path, barrel gets extension through the zone, with fluid rhythm.  Several line drives in batting practice, up the middle approach with 77 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, threw 72 mph from the crouch with pop times ranging between 2.08-2.22 from short, over the top arm slot.  Ran an 8.12 60 and 5.06 seconds from home to first.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Christian Dutler, C, Stevenson, 2016
5-foot-11, 180-pound left handed hitting catcher. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, medium stride. Pull side approach, 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively posted pop times at 2.19-2.26, short arm action, 69 mph from the crouch, arm played accurately, showed the ability to deliver the baseball on the bag. 8.27 runner in the 60.

Jackson Dvorak, C, Providence, 2016
6-foot-1, 215-pound right-handed hitting catcher hits from a balanced, wide setup, hands load back smoothly, short stride; short, level bat path, gets occasional extension, producing 83 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, threw 71 mph from the crouch from a long, high ¾ arm slot with some accuracy and pop times ranging from 2.19-2.32.  Ran a 7.94 60 and 5.02 from home to first.

Alex Guerra, C, Lincoln-Way Central, 2016
5-foot-8, 150-pound right-handed hitting catcher hits from a balanced setup, hands load back smoothly, short stride, line drive-type hitter with up the middle and opposite field tendencies.  77 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, pop times ranged between 2.39-2.43, throwing 71 mph from the crouch from a short, high ¾ arm slot.  Ran a 7.61 60 and 4.69 seconds from home to first.

Nicolas Malik, C/3B, Montini, 2017
5-foot-11, 198-pound catcher, solid build with strength, sturdy catchers frame. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride approach. Showed the ability to impact the baseball, bat speed present, line drive gap to gap approach, 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm plays at 68 mph out of the crouch, pop times posted at 2.35-2.43. Runs the 60 at 7.40.

Robert Marinec, C, Shepard, 2017
5-foot-11, 165-pound right-handed hitting catcher hits from a balanced setup, long stride, leans back at contact point, slightly uphill bat path; hit line drives in batting practice with pull tendencies and 81 mph exit velocity.  Threw 71 mph from the crouch from short, over the top arm slot with accuracy.  Pop times ranged from 2.25-2.32.  Ran an 8.19 60 and 5.26 seconds from home to first.

Jack Naal, C, Joliet Catholic, 2017
6-foot-3, 190-pound right-handed hitting catcher hits from a balanced, wide setup, hands drop to load, short stride; long, level bat path with line drives from gap-to-gap during batting practice with 78 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, threw 69 mph from the crouch from short, over the top slot, with pop times ranging from 2.26-2.40.  Ran a 7.91 60, and 5.29 seconds from home to first.

Trevor Niedzwiecki, C, Lake Zurich, 2017
5-foot-10, 150-pound catcher. Open stance, wide setup, short stride, solid balance. Front foot hitter, level path, 72 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively plays tall out of the crouch, 2.38-2.50 pop times, accurate arm, showed he can delivery the ball on the bag,  69 mph arm strength out of the crouch. 8.36 runner in the 60.

Bobby Peterka, C, Shepard, 2015
6-foot, 155-pound catcher, strong build, developed upper body. Offensively hits from the left side, open stance, leg kick trigger. Pull side hitter, pat travels around the baseball, 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively posted pop times at 2.25-2.30, flashed an accurate arm, short arm action, 72 mph from the crouch. 7.67 runner in the 60.

Jackson Petersen, C, Warren, 2017
5-foot-11, 160-pound catcher, some length to frame. Left handed hitter, tall open stance, short stride. Worked the middle of the field, smooth repeatable left handed swing, upside with the bat, 72 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a short arm action, posted 2.19-2.29 pop times, arm played at 69 mph from the crouch. 8.36 runner in the 60.

Colton West, C, Winnebago, 2015
6-foot, 165-pound right-handed hitting catcher hits from an open setup, short stride, barrel shows some whip through the zone, slightly uphill bat path producing 81 mph exit velocity.  Defensively behind the plate threw 71 mph from the crouch from a short, over the top arm slot with pop times ranging between 2.18-2.22.  Ran a 7.43 60 and 4.94 seconds from home to first.

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